By Damon Dorsey, ©2000
DATE: 01 May 1999
SUMMARY: A strange case of pornography, slavery, and a family which may be diseased–or something far worse.
CASE STATUS: Open
The following information was supplied to me by DG-Friendly David Grimley. Grimley, a former Federal employee turned private detective, had assisted me on several occasions since 1994. In February, 1999 Grimley received an unmarked package containing an issue of PlayPen magazine, a blurry photograph of a human skull evidencing signs of mutilation (the teeth were filed down to points), and a notecard bearing the message “Whatever Happened to Miss PlayPen 1985?” The source and current location of these materials is unknown.
Grimley examined PlayPen and it’s owner/founder, Grayson Neil, in hopes of finding out who had sent him this package and why. Afraid that he was being watched, Grimley transmitted this report to me shortly before he disappeared in April, 1999.
This may hint at some sort of cult activity, but after what happened to OPHELIA we don’t have the time or resources to pursue it. I should mention that she spoke yesterday. Screamed really. Something about “not lifting the red curtain.” Still, this is obviously a great improvement over her previous catatonic state.
Forward this to anyone you feel might benefit from it.
PlayPen magazine was first published in 1976, taking advantage of the growing prevalence of wife swapping (“swinging”) among the middle class at this time. The magazine’s primary purpose was to act as an advertising space through which couples could meet fellow “swingers”. By 1979 the market was glutted with such publications and many folded in the early eighties. However, PlayPen has survived. It is published bimonthly and claims to have a circulation of 30,000. This number seems quite high for a fringe publication but it is impossible to verify as I have been unable to determine where the magazine is printed and PlayPen has never, insofar as I can determine, sold their subscriber list to any other publication.
The magazine’s initial longevity can be attributed to its relatively high production value. The creator and editor of PlayPen, Grayson Neil (son of industrialist Robert Neil and heir to the Neil Shipping fortune), invested a great deal of money into the project in an attempt to copy the slick look of more mainstream “Gentleman’s” magazines and emulate his self-proclaimed idol, Hugh Heffner. As most swinger magazines at this time were little more than irregularly published black-and-white newsletters it is no surprise that PlayPen gained a strong following within the swinger community.
While the primary purpose of PlayPen has always been the classified advertisements, the magazine also contains erotic pictorials. The pictorials are rather tame by the standards of modern pornography. Most of them feature little more than scantily clad women involved in suggestive situations with a faceless man. It is difficult to determine the man’s identity as his head is always cropped from the pictures or in some instances overlaid by a large black star. After carefully examining several such pictorials I believe that they all contain the same man. Judging from his rather husky and unattractive build it is likely Grayson Neil himself.
If the man in the pictorials is Grayson Neil, it is unknown why he would choose to make such a show of concealing his identity. Neil enjoyed a small measure of celebrity during the late seventies and early eighties. During this time he was seen rubbing elbows with the rich and famous at many New York hotspots including Studio 54 and Club Apocalypse. Neil stopped making public appearances in the mid-eighties owing to a hereditary and degenerative skin condition.
Every February the magazine chooses a “Miss PlayPen” from among the women featured in the previous year’s issues. Miss PlayPen 1985 was identified only as ‘Jane.’ After some quasi-legal digging and some help from a friend in the DOT I identified her as Jane Grissom, born 1967 in Boston, MA. Her maiden name was Perkins. She was raised in a low-income neighborhood in South Boston and married a man named Theodore Grissom at age 16. I was able to locate her father, Mitchell Perkins but he was of little help. A retired postal worker and violent alcoholic, Perkins had effectively disowned his daughter when she married Grissom, whom Perkins described only as a “greasy foreigner.”
Perkins did tell me that his daughter showed up on his doorstep in 1986, pregnant and badly shaken. Perkins remembered little of what his daughter said before he managed to run her off with a baseball bat. What he did remember was sketchy. Jane had apparently had three children since marrying Grissom and was about to give birth to number four. She claimed that her husband would not allow her to see any of the children and that he imprisoned her and forced her to work at his friend’s “sex clubs.”
I have no idea what became of Jane Grissom after she visited her father in 1986. Theodore Grissom did not exist in any official capacity before he married Jane Perkins in 1983. All information supplied for his marriage license is false. It has been difficult to secure additional back issues of the magazine and attempts to identify any of the other female models in PlayPen have proved unsuccessful.
Further investigation into Grayson Neil unearthed a recurring rumor that he owns and operates a series of these so-called “sex clubs” in various locations along the Eastern seaboard. All these clubs, if they do exist, are private and no specific location could be identified.
In March I was contacted by a man who claimed to have worked briefly as a bouncer in one of these clubs. His name was Walter Fagan, and though he would not admit it, I suspect he is the person who sent me the materials that prompted this investigation. I went to speak with Fagan at the Green Meadow Hospice in Boston where he was struggling through the final stages of AIDS. He was heavily medicated and only barely lucid.
He told that the club was little more than a prison where Grayson Neil brought men to “mate” with the women held there. Neil referred to these men collectively as his “family,” though they bore little family resemblance outside of the degenerative skin condition that plagued Neil in later life. Fagan claimed the magazine was simply a way to organize the family’s activities and identify women to be used for breeding. He insisted that many of the advertisements were coded messages between Neil’s family members.
Fagan’s stint as a bouncer ended abruptly after he worked a private party at Grayson Neil’s coastal estate in Maine. He was unwilling or unable to tell me what happened there, though he implied that several people were killed. He described the end of his employment as his “escape” and said he’d been on the run since that night.
A week after we spoke, Fagan was found dead in his room at the Green Meadow Hospice. The official cause of death was suicide; Fagan had consumed a bottle of bleach, which was “accidentally” left in his bathroom by the cleaning staff. The Hospice pointed to Fagan’s deteriorating physical condition as the reason he would take his own life. I am, however, skeptical to say the least. When I spoke to Fagan he could barely muster the strength to lift his head. I doubt he could have made it to the bathroom unassisted let alone heft a gallon bottle of bleach to his lips.
I need to find out more about Grayson Neil’s estate on the coast of Maine. If Neil is operating some sort of white slavery ring it probably operates from there. Checking his family history, I can find evidence of no surviving relatives. His father has been dead since 1971 and his younger sister, Roberta Neil, perished in a boating accident off the coast of Peru in 1980. Perhaps the reference to his “family” indicates some sort of organized crime connection.
I have been unable to draw any conclusions about the photograph that arrived with the magazine. It is a rather large human skull and the teeth have been filed down to points. Beyond this there are no identifying marks and nothing that seems to tie into any of the information I’ve gathered concerning Grayson Neil or Jane Grissom.